This is a picture of the Kampala, Uganda sunset. And I find GREAT peace in knowing that O will never see this sunset at the home where he was staying again. He WILL however see it set from the babies home he is safely staying in until we are able to come get him and take him home!!!
That is the same babies home that Josh was standing in the day he called me and we decided to adopt from Uganda. An amazing babies home that feeds the kids three meals a day, bathes them daily, prays with them daily. Praise God! There are even American and English people who are volunteering there - so he will know what an American person looks like. Which is always a good thing - since his parents will look a little different than what he is used to! It sounds a little odd...but I find myself thinking about the fact that O could be standing in the same, exact place - thousands and thousands of miles away - that his Daddy stood when God made it clear that we are going to start this journey. God is just so crafty, isn't he? He really pays close attention to detail!
After that LONG weekend, we really learned that, as usual, God is faithful. He hears our prayers. He is mighty to save! To Him be all the glory! And we also were reminded, again, that we have some amazing friend and family members. O has been covered in prayer and peace rained down. And we thank you so much!!!
He will not only get the food and care that he needs at the babies home, but he will also get medical attention. Please continue to pray for healing. He is malnourished...and we can't wait to see him plump up! Also, please pray for all his medical testing. That God will lay his healing hand on O and that he will be healthy and stay healthy.
I am putting our immigration paperwork in the mail TODAY! Then, we will wait for approval. And, then, once the funds are raised, we can get a court date!
We hope to get an update on how he is doing in the next couple days. For now, we will leave you with a quote from our lawyer:
"O IS A HAPPY BOY."
Hear that? Happy Boy!!! Can't wait to see that beautiful smile!!!
To our sweet O,
Handsome boy...you are looking stronger already. You have no idea how much love you are in for! I can't wait to hug you tight. Your Daddy is beside himself. And Gracie evens says she will share her toys! We love you so much already.
We got word yesterday morning that the probate officer in charge of our case did not approve H taking care of O. The reason being the difficulty and complication that it would cause in our adoption case. It would add months to our process. They did, however, suggest we go with a babies home (we call them orphanages) that we are familiar with. VERY familiar with. It is the one that Josh was standing in the day we felt lead to adopt from Uganda. The one we felt so pulled to in the beginning and were upset we couldn't use. Interesting...
I was really upset...I just loved H so much. And we felt sure that this was what God wanted. How could it change so quickly??? And why? Josh quickly reminded me that God sees the big picture and that there has to be a good reason for this change. I know he is right. I take the time to pray for a change in perspective, and start to appreciate the opportunity into the babies home. I wonder if we can even get O in...because they aren't accepting international applications at this time.
Our lawyer called later in the afternoon to let us know that the administrator approved O coming in. That he would be at the babies home, and have our names written all over him. They will allow him to reside there as our son.
What a relief!!! We know he will be safe. We know he will be fed and cared for. And our lawyer is so great...it was 9pm her time when she called. We have a lot to be thankful for.
Then...we got an email from a man in Uganda who is well known by everyone we have spoken with. This man is an advocate for orphans...and the man who took the picture of O that was sent to us. He is working with our lawyer and is tied to a lot of adoptions there. We reached out to him (via facebook, of course, because everyone on earth has a FB, huh?) to see if he knew how O was doing. He replied with honesty and let us know that O is not doing well. There are some details that I can't share here, but he is not being nourished and cared for. He thinks that O is in harms way.
WHAT CAN WE DO??? How can we help our son??? I have to get there and make things right. But, I can't. So...we prayed...and we prayed...and we texted friends and familiy to pray...and we put a post on facebook for prayer...and then we prayed. Josh called him after receiving his email and asked if there was anything else we could do. We have already sent the money required to go the proper legal channels and get him to the babies home. We understand that we have to pay for transportation and legal fees. But, does he think that O will be OK until Monday? How bad is the situation? He says that he thinks O will be OK until Monday. He says that we have already done everything we can to get him out of there as quickly as possible. Then he reminded us of something:
GOD LOVES O MORE THAN WE EVER COULD. I know that. I know God loves all of us more than we can understand. Gracie, me, Josh...all of us. I have always found comfort in that.
But...today...I REST IN THAT ALONE. I have done everything I can. I will continue to pray and ask that you join me.
God does see the big picture. He is using this situation to teach us something and I will NOT allow the lesson to pass me by without getting it. My Mom reminded me that we don't always have to understand why things happen. And I agree. If that alone is what I am learning...that I don't have to get it. Then, I get that I don't have to get it. Did I lose anybody there? What I mean is...If God is telling me that I don't have to figure it all out...then I give!!! I totally understand that to be true. Sometimes we don't know the answers. Sometimes we don't NEED to know the answers.
So, I will REST IN HIM. I don't always understand God, but I DO ALWAYS TRUST HIM. And remember that God is in control. Uganda is too far for me to drive or walk for sure. But, prayers know no distance.
I look forward to Monday. When I can post and tell you that O is safe and in the babies home.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
We love each of you
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path."
To our sweet O,
Mommy and Daddy want to hold you so badly. We dream about the day we get to put your little hand in ours. The day we get to tell you in person that we love you. We think about you all the time.
Well...the past 48 hours have been a whirlwind! We have learned a lot, but these few seem to stick out quite a bit:
1. God sees the big picture and we DO NOT.
2. Prayer is VERY powerful.
3. Rest in HIM.
So, yesterday morning we got an email from our lawyer stating that O was not in a safe place. He was abandoned...and the person caring for him is not giving him the care, food, or medical attention he needs. We had been trying to figure out exactly where he was since we found him, and this was just not the answer we were looking for. She asked if we knew of anyone in Uganda who could care for him. Of course, we don't know too many people there...none of them personally for a long time anyway.
So...what do we do??? We prayed. FIRST and foremost - because we felt so desperate and helpless. We prayed and then we prayed and then we prayed....and then we emailed. Josh emailed every person he met while he was on both mission trips there. I emailed every adoptive Ugandan Mom I knew who I thought could give me advice. Now...let me just say. I have never met, in person, any of these adoptive Moms. From the lady who brought O to our attention, to the one who suggested our guide. We have never seen their faces in person. Yet for some reason, they feel like family. I emailed an incredibly inspiring Mom who lives in Nashville and asked if she had any ideas. She quickly replied...FIRST with congrats on our son. Which was so needed. Then, she suggested a babies home in Uganda that we could look into. She provided us with contact information and everything else she knew about the babies home. She also gave us information on a lady, we will call her H, who she knew to be an amazing, Christian woman with a heart for children like O. She knew that she was on facebook and that she would take good care of O. That I could trust her and not worry about him getting the care he needs or our money going to the wrong place. So, I found her on facebook and sent her a message. Isn't FB grand???
That night, unknown to me, Josh emailed a lady in Uganda who is from the states but has adopted two beautiful kiddos while living in Uganda. She has been very helpful to us, giving advice from the very beginning. I didn't have her email, and Josh was on shift, so I sent her a message on her blog and asked her to email me so I could ask her some questions.
Then we prayed some more. I found myself, through out the day and night, praying to God..."If your will allows, please let H say yes...PLEASE Lord, let H say yes." To know that O would have a Christian woman caring for him...one who I had a peace about...and knew we could trust.
This morning I woke up and got an email from the lady who lives in Uganda. She said that she got my message for her to email me. She is assuming it is in regard to O...since my husband had sent her an email also (great minds think alike). She suggested a babies home that may work out. Gave all kinds of details and contact information.
Then...she stated that she had a friend who she has already spoken to who said that she would care for O. She is an amazing, inspiring, beautiful, Christian woman by the name of....GUESS WHO...couldn't believe it, well...yes we could...it was H!!!
God is the most incredible artist, conductor, planner...He knew all along!!! How awesome is He??? More amazing than I can fathom, that is for sure!
Josh spent the rest of the morning on the phone with our Lawyer and H getting things in order.
We hope that H with have O in her care by the weekend. We need to work out some logistics, but we are so thankful and full of joy that she wants to help him. Please pray for O's safety and health in the mean time. Also, that they get O to H as quickly, safely, and flawlessly as possible.
Can you believe that people like her exist? Like H and the incredible women who helped us find her? People who love Jesus so much, that they LOVE JUST LIKE HE WOULD. They have never seen my face, but they changed our lives. Forever.
I want to love people like that. I can love people like that. And I will.
"But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people..."
To our sweet O,
Mommy and Daddy are coming for you. We will be with you as soon as we can. God is preparing us for one another. Your sister won't stop talking about you. We already love you more than you will ever know.
Most of us know what love looks like. You see it, and you just feel it. It is so clearly evident, that there is just no doubt that love fills every heart involved. After all, LOVE CONQUERS ALL. These are just a few of the little things, day to day, that make my heart sing love songs:
1. A smile from Gracie for no reason at all.
2. Watching Joshua sing to God when he doesn't know I'm watching.
3. Seeing Gracie dance to her own music.
4. A look from my Mom that says she understands my heart.
5. Feeling Josh reach for my hand.
6. Waking up and knowing that I have another day with my loved ones.
These are all a direct result of the blessings God has given me. I give Him the glory for everything I have and everything I am able to do. I try, so very hard, to please Him. I give him control through out the day...sometimes more than once because I am reminded that HE is in control and I AM NOT.
I have been learning through this amazing, and sometimes challenging life I am living, that God knows what He is doing. He has a plan. I can try to figure that plan out...but I never do. It is always different from what I think it will be. He does, however, give me peace, discernment, and guidance. He shows me, ever so quietly, where to go.
Sometimes I get it. Sometimes I only get it looking back because I was so side tracked - that I missed it.
We have prayed every day, usually several times through out the day, that God's will be done with our adoption journey. MAY HE LEAD THE WAY. May we see His clear direction. We have asked for prayer along the way and gotten so much support.
And that prayer and guidance has brought us to today. A DAY TO REJOICE IN AND CELEBRATE!!!
Yesterday we heard from a new friend (one who we thank God for and will thank Him for every day) that there was a little boy who needed a family. Josh and I have been open about whether we get a boy or girl...open about what age...but have both felt lead to a toddler...and both felt lead to a boy. So, I COULDN'T LET IT PASS ME BY! I knew the chances were slim, but I inquired. There was lots of little bits of detail in between but...
THEN I SAW A PICTURE OF O. We have to refer to him as O because I am not sure of how much information is too much information to share online. We can't share his photo until we finish the process. But, he is 2. He is beautiful. He is incredible. And we think that he could be ours.
Let me say, that God is the only one who knows the ultimate end to our adoption process. Only God knows how this will go. This could end differently than we think. So many twists and turns could happen between now and the day we come home. And we know that. We have peace about that. We have thought (along with our friends and family members) that we shouldn't get too excited. This could be too good to be true! But, we have decided instead to rejoice and let the peace of God fill us. If God has other plans for us - we will follow Him. With peace along the way. We want O to be with the family God wants him with...
BUT THIS IS WHERE GOD HAS LEAD US. This is where our prayer has brought us. This is where we ended up. And we are in love with O.
So, where do we go from here? This wasn't expected!!!
We have to get our paperwork off to CIS asap. We are in the process of that. They have to approve us. Then, we have to start all over in the complicated process of adoption in Uganda. We have been in contact with the lawyer working with O and she has agreed to work with us. She says that she is thankful for the fact that O has found a family in us. I hear that she has a real heart for orphans and we are so blessed to be working with her.
Somewhere in the middle of that we will need to come across A LOT OF MONEY. We know that God will provide. We have to rest in the fact that he wouldn't bring us on a journey that he wouldn't provide for. Please pray about this.
We will update you every step along the way. We are currently waiting to hear back from our lawyer with some more information on O. We have lots of questions and are awaiting the answers.We will share the answers with you as soon as we can. With the time difference and the poor internet access in Uganda...it is not as easy as sending an email here.
PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR US. Please pray, specifically, for O's health. He is malnourished and in need of medical care. We pray, first and foremost, that he will be safe and healthy and in the care of the person God wants him with until he is in OUR ARMS.
"You will go out in joy and be lead forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
PRAISE THE LORD!!!
I saw this picture on another Africa adoptive Mom's blog...and couldn't help but borrow. So cute! I wonder how long it will be for us!
This week we finished ALL of our training!!! Woo hoo!!! We really have learned a lot about Uganda and what we will be looking at when our child comes home. We are going to need a lot of prayer -we learned that for sure! We are also learning so much about orphans, Uganda, and the people of Uganda in general. And we are falling in love. We dream of the day we get to bring our family of 4 (or more...who knows?) to do more mission work there. I know that will be far down the road...which brings me to the reason behind all of this day dreaming...THE WAITING. We knew we would spend a lot of time waiting when we decided to go on this journey. So, we are trying not to hurry, rush, or be impatient. We, again, are trying to focus on one foot in front of the other. It isn't easy though! And we aren't even that far in! So, God is teaching us a lot. It's so amazing what He is using this time for. Not only am I learning (yet again) to be still, but our family is drawing closer to one another, we are praying more as a family...we are just trusting in the Lord. And we are finding that He will always be there to provide for us. I was talking to a friend about the financial aspect of this and how overwhelming it can be. I told her that we have NO IDEA how we are going to do this. How we are going to find the funds. We just know that so far, we have had JUST enough for the next step. I found myself getting nervous. We only have enough for the I-600 A. What about when we need lawyer fees, plane tickets, and all the other stuff??? Then, I realized what I was doing. I wasn't taking it one step at a time. God is fully capable of blessing us with $20,000.00. But we are learning so much more this way. We don't need it all today. We just need enough for what's next. And we have it!!! Praise the Lord! We also hear that the typical 2 month time length it's been taking for the I-600 A to be approved is going faster in Dallas! Nice! Hopefully, we will be able to send that in next week. Thanks for the prayers and support. God bless!!! We leave you with a picture of our garage - aka Josh's used to be man cave. See all the awesome stuff we have had donated to us for the garage sale by friends and family? We are going to try to sell it all at the Stonebridge Ranch Garage Sale on September 18th. So many people have donated (and please keep it coming) that we are thinking we may need to have more than one sale due to space constraints. God is good!!! Thanks to those who have and are donating!!!
The past week has been a wealth of knowledge. We are required to get 10 hours of training in order to finish our home study. So, Josh and I have been watching webinars on attachment, discipline, multiracial families, and lots of other things. We hope to be finished in the next week! While reading, I can't help but think about where our child is and what he or she is doing. Is an African woman holding him/her and nurturing or loving him/her? Is he/she sitting alone? Is our child fearing for it's life? Is it in danger? Does he/she know how much we are already in love with him/her? Does this child feel a connection in it's heart like I do? Is anyone teaching our child about Jesus? I'm sure you realize that the questions could go on and on. I have to constantly tell myself to be still. Trust in the Lord. He knows exactly what He is doing. I am starting to feel overwhelmed about the financial aspect..and I just have to remember that God is bigger than lawyer fees, flights, immigration fees, and all else. I'm learning so much through this journey. We all are. So, again, we take it one step at a time! We do what is right in front of us. And we train away! This morning Gracie tapped away at her very first dance class. She wasn't feeling it at first...but she quickly warmed up. Here's a pic of her putting on her ballet shoes. We couldn't be more proud!
Well, as you can see by the photo...I am NOT the kind of mother who can trim her child's hair. I thought I was. And for some reason, I was proud. I felt resourceful and...Momly...I guess. After the mishap we had last night, I have questioned my Momness. I know it's just her bangs...and thank the Lord...they will grow back. But, I couldn't sleep! How could I have allowed such a thing? I knew she was squirmy! She thinks it's funny. And of course, knows she is beautiful. So, why am I bothered? The more I think about it...the more I realize that I am worried about what others will think. Why do I care? I wasn't worried with what others thought when I was younger! So...I found myself thinking of what good could come of this. And I thought that maybe God is telling me to think more of HIS opinion and less of others. Maybe I am not perfect but God made me the Mom I am today. So, when I get overwhelmed and think of how I will be at Mommying (I think I made that term up) two...I can rest in HIM. He will handle it. He will give me all the Mommy skills I need. He is the master provider. He always has been. It is easy to become overwhelmed when hearing about how our transition will be from one child to two - especially with the added challenges we will face. But God has blessed us with a lot of love to give! And his word tells us that "love conquers all". So there is no need to worry! Matter of fact, His word says that too. So, am I thankful that I messed up our sweet baby's hair? No. But I AM thankful that I can learn so much from it. And just for those who are wondering. I also learned that I will NEVER do this again. We will go to a professional next time!!! And that is just fine!
Well, the weekend has been great! We had our home study on Saturday and it was good. I really do believe that we have the social worker God wants for us. After 4 hours of talking together and apart, I think she really gets us. It was funny hearing her talk to Gracie about how the baby won't be in Mommy's tummy. Gracie loves to talk about that...and the conversation ended with me explaining that Gracie won't be tiny again and go back into my tummy. She thinks we can go backward! All in all, I think that the whole experience was a blessing. She had a lot of information for us and we spilled all of our info on her. She appreciated our honesty and we felt comfortable. It was the best case scenario. She approved us for up to two children, male or female, up to 3 years of age. I know that is vague, but hearing those words made me feel so much closer to our child. And yes, it is child...not children. We are planning on getting 1, but wanted to put up to 2 just in case God has a different plan that involves siblings. We also have a great evening ahead for tonight. Our church is celebrating baptism and fellowship with a comedian and following that with baptism and family fun time. The FBC McKinney adoption ministry will be there to give members and guests information about this somewhat new ministry and show how any and everyone can be involved. I'm so excited about this - I truly believe that God has BIG PLANS for it. So many lives and orphans can be impacted by the ministry and I love what God is doing with it. Please check out thejourneymckinney.blogspot.com for more info. As far as what is next for us...I 600 A and fundraising...here we come!!! The garage sale is September 18th and we have some great donations already. We hope to raise around 1000.00 in the next few weeks so we can get our I 600 A sent off. This usually takes a couple months to complete. Please pray! I figured I would leave you with this pic of Gracie. She's so excited and talks about her baby brother or sister all the time. Also, with the pic of my purse...I got to work and looked in there. The contents have changed so much since I became a Mom. I'm hoping that 2 kids doesn't mean twice the junk. I don't think my shoulder can handle the pressure of 4 clidesdale horses...lol. God Bless!
Welcome to our blog! We hope that you will follow along with us. My name is Courtney and I am wife to Joshua and Mom to Gracie (4-bio) and Owen (2-adopted). We decided to adopt from Uganda June 10, 2010 and were granted guardianship of Owen Mukisa a short 4 months later - October 26th 2010. Independent adoption was a crazy ride, but it has had God's fingerprints all over it!
We started this blog to keep everyone informed during our journey of adoption. Once we got home with Owen and started to settle in as a family of 4... we realized that our story had only begun, so I continue to blog about whatever God places on my heart.
"So here is what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him." Romans 12:1
We are also going to print this off at the end of our journey to share with our son, so he can see how his story started.